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Updated: April 27, 2010 11:44 IST

Wall Street reform bill stalled in Senate

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The Wall Street sign is shown near the New York Stock Exchange. The opposition Republicans have blocked consideration of a sweeping Wall Street reform bill. File Photo: AP
AP
The Wall Street sign is shown near the New York Stock Exchange. The opposition Republicans have blocked consideration of a sweeping Wall Street reform bill. File Photo: AP

The opposition Republicans has blocked consideration of a sweeping Wall Street reform bill.

The U.S. President, Barack Obama, who had been aggressively pushing for the bill, said he is deeply disappointed.

“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin,” Mr. Obama said in a statement soon after a Democratic motion to open debate on a Wall Street reform bill was voted down yesterday, 57-41, with all Republicans present.

Moderate Democrat Senator Ben Nelson voted no on substance of the bill.

Democrats, who needed 60 votes to proceed, now plan to bring the bill up again in coming days.

Mr. Obama said some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether.

“But the American people can’t afford that. A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees, and helped cause the pain that has left millions of Americans without jobs and without homes,” Mr. Obama said and urged the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party.

The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, accused Republicans of coming in the way of making the Wall Street accountable.

“Today we tried to take an important step toward making sure that never happens again, but Senate Republicans would not even agree to begin debate on this critical issue,” he said.

“I was disappointed the Senate was blocked from even beginning debate on this Wall Street reform bill, which is designed to return fairness and accountability to our financial system,” said Democratic Senator Benjamin L Cardin and urged all his colleagues to set aside any partisan agenda and join in a constructive debate on how they can prevent future economic crises.

“For more than a decade, Congressional Republicans failed to provide robust oversight of Wall Street, which crippled our financial system and resulted in 8 million jobs lost for America’s workers,” said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

However, Republicans termed it as a victory for hard-working Americans who have made their voices clear: they do not want to see or pay for another Wall Street bailout in this country.

“The Democrats’ bill would make government bailouts the norm, not the exception, and heap even more regulations and red-tape on the backs of Main Street banks and small businesses, which had nothing to do with the housing and financial crises,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, who voted against a motion to proceed to the Financial Reform bill (S.

3217) being offered by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, said the bill would not stop future taxpayer bailouts, restricts the ability of Americans to invest in start-up companies, imposes major new costs on small businesses and does nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Unfortunately, this is a partisan bill that was forced too quickly to the Senate floor and rejects negotiations that have occurred.

A bipartisan bill should address risky practices that led to unprecedented taxpayer bailouts and new high levels of government debt,” Crapo said.

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